Thursday, April 22, 2010

13 IHeart: Earth Day

It's an IHeart Happy Earth Day today!  I am SO excited for today, I have a ton of activities planned with the kiddos to teach them {above and beyond our typical speakings}, all the reasons why it's so important to take care of our earth.  It's great to get them motivated now, so that when they are our age, they have the same beautiful surroundings for their munchkins!

I know there are still so manly things that I could do to be more earth friendly, like not drive as often or buy ONLY organic foods and materials.  And I totally hope to get there someday, it's all about doing things in strides and making one change at a time.  EVERY little thing helps!

I know I am only skimming the surface, but here are a couple of things that can be done around the organized home, to help our friendly planet.

When it comes to organizing, whether you are cleaning out that cluttered junk drawer or taking on the whole garage, make sure you are aware of the items you are disposing of.  Check with your local waste company to see what guidelines they have regarding disposing specific products/electronics/paints/etc... It's also good to really consider if your items could be donated, sold or reused, vs. tossed away.  Freecycle.org offers up a way to locate someone in need of something or to post your unwanted treasures.  It's always better to reuse then to waste!

Take a peak around your home for things that you already own, that can double as storage!  For example, I have used the most adorable filing basket around my house in my living room, by my kitchen sink and in my office space for various purposes, meaning I didn't just settle for it being a file basket specifically.  Or snag an old Kleenex box to hold spice packets or remotes or a soup can for your tools, desk supplies or kid utensils.  You never know what you have at home that can be beautified and used to maximize your storage!


Go paperless!  Paper not only can take up a TON of space around the home, it's also a source of many missing trees.  Switch all of your statements to paperless options that can always easily be accessed online.  Or scan in old statements, greeting cards, receipts, etc.. and store them on an external hard drive and recycle the paper version.  Your old paper can be turned into new paper, and going paperless for your bills will save a ton more trees besides!
 
Stash a supply of green bags into a handled storage tote in your pantry or vehicle trunk for easy grab and go when heading out for any shopping trip.



Or better yet, snag an uber adorable basket for your bike and ride to the store instead of taking the gas chugger 'burban in your driveway.  I am guilty as charged, I am hoping to do that more this summer!



Aside from organizing, when cleaning, there are now tons of earth friendly products on the market for any chore, most I have found work just as good or better than non earth friendly options.  Or, you could save some mega moola and vow to make your own?  That's my plan Stan!


And of course, when cleaning, it's always good to have a bin full of reusable microfiber sponges and rags, vs. using paper towels.



Another completely obvious option is recycling!  Place a easy to access basket in all rooms in the house that are frequently used and create any waste.  Especially home office and kitchen spaces.  I really heart these cheapo stacking plastic bins for holding paper to be recycled.



And finally, another something I vow to take on this year, is to create a yard compost and plant a veggie garden.  Of course I will post on the projects along the way.
 
For other ways I am going green, check out my green kitchen post, my green office post and my cleaning post.  The feeling you get when you know you are working to do the right things, is reward enough for any life changes that are being made!  And this gal hearts rewards!  Of course, as I feature more spaces around the homestead throughout the year, I am hoping to add to my list of "live green" posts!

I am going to finish off where I started.  Kids.  They are our future.  I am a strong believer that getting them into the right habits now, will make it easier for them to continue down a green path.  To get my kiddos excited about helping out in a "green" way, I gave them each ownership of one task.  One is on "water" patrol, one is on "recycling" patrol and one is on "electricity" patrol!  It's amazing how well this works, three boys all in charge of something!  And I added in a little competition, in hopes of making this fun task stick!  For each time one finds a light left on, or water running too long in the shower or while brushing teeth, or if something is in a waste basket that should have been recycled, they get a dime.  And of course to make it even more about the earth, their nickles & dimes will add up and be put towards purchasing their very own personal tree to plant in our yard!


All it took was a glass jar and label for each little earth keeper, and some spare nickles & dimes, and we were all set to start the challenge!


And P1 already found three lights left on {shame shame!} so he is having fun sticking his $ into his jar!


And of course, once they earn half of the tree cost, then mom and dad will happily cover the rest!  And once everyone is all loaded up with their dinero, we will head out as a family, pick out our new family trees and have a happy family day planting them in our yard!

IHeart how excited they are to do good!  Hears hoping it sticks!


How are you fellow friends making changes in your lives for the sake of our planet?  Any easy peasy small changes you can share, that make a huge different for our earth?  Anyone reuse or re-purpose anything unique and different for the sake of getting things organized {like a cereal box or empty paint cans?}.  Do share your green tales, for we would all love to hear how to give this earth a happily ever after!


13 comments:

  1. I only found your blog a few days ago and sat for probably a couple of hours going through your old posts.
    I have a question.
    Will you pleeeeeeze come to New Zealand and organise MY house ;-)

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  2. I too just stumbled upon your blog and have enjoyed browsing through your posts. I'm in the midst of major organization over here. It has to do with photos, photos, and more photos. I was wondering if you can give me some helpful suggestions. My kids are 2 and 4 and i have yet to do their baby book or even an album for that matter. I've been wanting to purchase each a baby book but have been indecisive as to which to get since some just have questions that are totally irrelevant. and i can't even remember exact times of major milestones. shame on me. but then i was thinking maybe i'd like to do a scrapbook of their first year and perhaps incorporate milestones and keepsakes into it but i have no idea how to scrapbook. my main mission here is to get photos of them into an album and write stuff down before i totally forget. how did you organize their baby stuff? did you complete a baby book for each? do you have a 1st yr scrapbook or just put pics in albums?? do you keep a journal for each??? this probably sounds ridiculous but it's what keeps me awake at night! i just feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. maybe i should start printing photos. that's a task in itself as i have over 2000 to choose from. lol thanks much and keep up this great blog!!!

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  3. I just learned how to make my own laundry soap. It actually works REALLY well, and is so cheap, and environmentally happy.

    http://bradbergrecipes.blogspot.com/2010/04/laundry-detergent.html

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  4. I drastically cut down on our paper towel use. I bought a pack of car cleaning microfiber rags, cut them in half and keep a basket of them in the kitchen. I use one for daily wiping up of the counters and can easily grab one if I need to clean a spill, etc. While I still use paper towels for some things, I amazed at how long they last us now. I might use one roll every 2-3 months now. I'm trying to 'green' up my cleaners too and have almost switched everything over. I'm going to try Method Wood for Good that you mentioned in one of your cleaning posts!

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  5. I LOVE your idea of the tree planting contest - what a fun way to teach kids about being green! When we have little ones, I hope I'll be as creative as you when it comes to things like this!

    On the downside, I admit I have not been improving on being green lately - although that was one of my new years' resolutions. Right now my sights are totally focused on finishing our kitchen countertops, but I'm planning on getting serious with recycling after that! :)

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  6. I just wanted to chime in and say that is fantastic idea to get the kids to be interested with the tree planting contest.

    I've been slowly trying to make our house more green and we upgraded/replaced a lot of our older appliances that weren't energy efficient, we were lucky that our city had lots of programs to offer such as giving $75 for old fridges/freezers and they come to pick it up for you and recycle the parts.

    We bought front loading washers and run it on cold before we go to bed (electrical rates are cheaper at off peak hours) that way in the morning my laundry is ready to be hung out to dry. Apparently I saw an article that you don't need that much detergent for your laundry, so I use half the amount suggested and they come out just as clean.

    When I get packages shipped to me loaded with packing peanuts (polystyrene), I keep them to use for my indoor potted plants for draining instead of gravel, be sure to use a coffee filter before putting your soil in so you don't loose it in the bottom of the plant.
    It's great especially for hanging plants so they aren't so heavy. You can also donate them to schools to use for craft projects.

    I use bread tabs to attach to my electrical cords and with a permanent marker, I label what it is so I don't have to sort through the mess of cords when I want to unplug something.

    Butter wrappers; I keep these folded in a zip lock bag in the fridge to grease up my baking pans.

    Your site is brimming with ideas, Thanks for sharing yours.

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  7. Jen, love your ideas for your three little boys! That's great. What a great example you are setting for them.
    In honor of Earth Day yesterday I ordered a bunch of new, earth friendly products from recycledbags.com. Lots of stuff for the kids lunches. I'm aiming for a waste free lunch for them each day. We've already cut down on water bottle usage (we all have our own klean kanteen) and that's made a big difference. I've been using reusable shopping bags for a few years now and I'm always picking up more. For parties I picked up 50 clear glass plates and a set of glasses from Ikea so we don't waste all those paper products (we have a lot of parties!)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, checking out my DIY album charms and leaving a comment. I appreciate every one and every new follower, as I'm sure you do as well. So thanks!!!!! :)
    -heather

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  8. Hi Jen, I have another great suggestion for going green, that my aunt acutally posted on FB the other day. As an animal lover she strongly suggested donating old sheets and towels to your local animal shelters as the pooches and other animals love to snuggle up in these items!

    Chris and I also got a composter from my parents last spring and have been composting our egg shells and banana peels ever since! Our goal is to also get a rain barrel from the county this year so we can use rainwater to water our trees, flowers and vegtable garden. My mom also suggested when we get the rain barrel to call our utility company and see if they a rebate, her hometown does. And who couldn't save/earn a little money from the ones they normally give it to right!?! We are also going to finish our brand new clothes line which will cut down our energy use in the house, by not running our dryer so often! I am really excited about this one! Ever since I saw your idea about the green bags for grocery shopping it has been on my list to grab some at some point too.

    I was wondering where you bought your microfiber sponges?

    Also I would like to address the "Anonymous" and her picture dilemma. As a scrapbooker I know how hard and daunting it can be to look at all your pictures and wonder where to start. I still have many pictures I need to organize as well. But the first thing I would recommend is don't print anything until you have a plan (keep it green and save paper for the time being!) I love scrapbooking and it is very rewarding for me, but is a very time consuming and expensive hobby, so make sure it something you really want to get into. If not you could also consider digital scrapbooks. I have friends who have done these and they turn out beautiful, without as much time and effort and everything is online until you print the book. It really is versatile and has tons of options. Another suggestion I would do is create a calendar for each of your children online (print it, if that is easier for you) and as milestones happen or they say funny things you want to remember, you can write them in their calendar for easy reference and documentation later! Hopes this helps!

    Jenny

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  9. Hi Jlfranker,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I thought about digital scrapbooking but since I wanted to incorporate more than just photos, like their birth certificate, hospital bracelet and whatever else I should put in a first year book, I didn't think it would be an option. I guess I can scan them. I don't know. What do you think? The calendar idea is a good one. But again, I wanted to just write stuff down in the album. I guess I can do that too with digital scrapbooking. Hmmm.. thanks again! I'll look into it. anymore suggestions out there??

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  10. Thank you everyone for posting such wonderful "green" tips and changes that you are making! I am excited to try out a couple of your suggestions as well!!

    Lynne, I would heart to come visit you! Not sure it's in my budget to start traveling though! :)

    Anonymous, what a wonderful question about the kiddos memorabilia. I in fact, although generally fairly organized, am FAR behind on scrapbooking and also did not do the typical baby books for my boys. A couple of things I did do, was create a memory box for each child, that contains contents labeled with dated information, for example, first tooth lost, first hair cut, hospital bracelets, newspapers from the day they were born, etc... the boxes are a great trip down memory lane each time we look inside! As far as the photographs, I do have their first year scrapbooked, however, since then, I have fallen behind and focused more on my family and less on my passion to scrap {and now I blog in my spare time also!}, so each year I use Snapfish.com to upload the years worth of photos, and create a bound memory book that tells our story of the year. I actually started doing this as a Christmas gift for both sets of the kids grandparents about 5 years ago, however, IHeart the books so much, I went back and ordered one from each of the past 5 years for ourselves. Now, each year I order them for all of us as a keepsake and my way of holding on to the years memories. The books are fabulous, you can customize the layout, text, photos and backgrounds on each page. And Snapfish typically will offer a deal that if you purchase one book, they will discount additional books purchased {may only be around Christmas, I am not for sure on that}. I know that a lot of other online photo services also offer the memory books now as well. Another option is to have your pictures printed and fill up some pretty photo albums, there are a lot of kinds out there that offer the ability to journal information in along with your photos.

    Thank you so very mych Jenny for also offering up the other scrapbooking and calendar thoughts! You have an amazing scrapbook tallent {I've also seen your incredible card making talent online!}, and are absolutely right about planning your pages ahead of time and only printing out certain pictures! I have learned that lesson the hard way in the past! Oh, and I found my microfiber sponges at both Marshalls and Home Goods!

    Thanks again everyone for sharing your "green" tips!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. Thanks Jen, I will have to take a look for them. I also went out and bought some "green" shopping bags and have a container similar to yours for storing them (which was emptied after organizing my bathrooms).

    And just to retouch base on my calendar idea, not sure if I am confused or Anonymous was by my suggestion. I meant for the calendar to be used on a daily basis to jot down the things she didn't want to forget and then when she did sit down to scrap or put her books together she could refer to it, so she wasn't trying to search her memory. Obviously this would be for things going forward that she wanted to remember. I also love Jen's idea about keeping a memory box, I will have to remember that one for the future! The scrapping stores also have great ways to be able to preserve those precious memories in your books with clear envelopes for a child's first haircut and lock of hair cut, etc.

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  13. I got the calendar idea. It's great and it'll help me keep track of stuff going forward, like you said. Thanks! Still have to get started on the scrapbook/memory album...

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